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“We are moving and dancing,” insists illustrator Maira Kalman, “in our way, all day long.” I rediscovered the wisdom of these words after traveling to see loved ones in other places. One of my favorite parts of travel is getting to people watch at airports: the small moments of delight that being in a strange place brings, but also, more commonly, the weariness of this movement and the beginnings, perhaps, of homesickness. We all seem to be elsewhere, even as we’re waiting in the same security lines or strapped to the same row of seats.

And yet, elsewhere is exactly the opposite of where Kalman seems to live. Her conversation with Krista is one of my all-time favorites because of the kind of presence she inspires. “The subject of my work,” she writes, “continues to be the normal, daily things that people fall in love with.” I’d like to think falling in love — whether in motion at an airport or sitting still at home — is the dance she’s talking about.

Her attentiveness reminds me of how Mary Oliver writes about instructing herself “over and over in joy” in her poem “Mindful”:

              “how can you help

but grow wise
    with such teachings
         as these—
              the untrimmable light

of the world,
     the ocean’s shine,
          the prayers that are made
               out of grass?”

I’ll leave you with a question that Krista asked Maira: Have you fallen in love with something today? You can share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

Kristin Lin
Editor, The On Being Project

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On Being
Maira Kalman
“Daily Things to Fall in Love With”

Writer and illustrator Maira Kalman is known for her books for children and adults, her love of dogs, and her New Yorker covers. Her words and pictures bring life’s intrinsic quirkiness and whimsy into relief right alongside life’s intrinsic seriousness.

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From the On Being Blog
Blog photo collage – photo of room during sunset; photo of person walking on shallow water; photo of repaired cracks in pottery

Here are three pieces that inspire love in the everyday:

“How to Train Your Mind to Recognize the Love All Around You” by Sharon Salzberg
Practical tools to find love in everyday moments. 

“Illuminating the Beauty in Our Broken Places” by Omid Safi
The Japanese art of “kintsugi” — repairing cracks in pottery with gold — gives a new perspective on how healing and illuminating our own flaws can lead to a more nourishing wholeness.

“Twice Blessed: A Poem” by David Whyte
How love is a blessing twice over: Once in the act of giving, and again when it is reflected back upon you.


Krista is spending January through March at Stanford University as the 2019 Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor. During her time in Palo Alto, we’ll be taping several live On Being conversations, all free and open to the public, starting with:

Palo Alto, CA
Emerging Generations’ Redefinition of the Meaning of Success
Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 4:30 p.m.
Paul Brest Hall at Stanford University

Krista will be joined by Abraham Verghese, the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and award-winning author of Cutting for Stone, and Denise Pope, senior lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education and co-founder of Challenge Success. Learn more.

Banner for the Fetzer Institute — "Helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world."

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The On Being Project is an independent non-profit public life and media initiative. We pursue deep thinking and social courage, moral imagination and joy, to renew inner life, outer life, and life together.

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